In the United States, the number of reported coronavirus infections jumped by nearly 400 Thursday to about 1,650, but the actual number is believed to be higher. Congress’s in-house doctor has privately told Capitol Hill staffers that he expects 70 to 150 million people in the U.S. will contract the coronavirus.
Six states have announced plans to close all public schools: Oregon, Ohio, Michigan, Maryland, Kentucky and New Mexico. Schools in Houston, Texas, and near Seattle are also closing. Almost 5 million children are being impacted by the closings.
All major sporting events in the United States have been halted. The NCAA has canceled for the first time ever the men and women’s college basketball tournaments known as March Madness. Utah Jazz player Rudy Gobert has apologized after testing positive for coronavirus just days after he jokingly touched reporters’ microphones and phones while leaving a news conference Monday. Gobert wrote, “At the time, I had no idea I was even infected. I was careless and make no excuse. I hope my story serves as a warning and causes everyone to take this seriously.”
Disney has shuttered all of its theme parks around the world, including Disney World in Florida. New York state has banned public gatherings of more than 500 people — including all productions on Broadway.
On Thursday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio declared a state of emergency as the number of confirmed cases in the city jumped from 42 to 95 in a single day.
Mayor Bill de Blasio: “But the last 24 hours have been very, very sobering. Literally, yesterday morning feels like a long time ago. We got a lot of information in the course of the day yesterday. A lot changed then. Then, last night, it just seemed like the world turned upside down in the course of just a few hours.”